Research shows that loneliness can be as damaging to health as smoking and obesity. Social isolation can also be linked to cardiovascular health risks, poor diet, heavy drinking and increased blood pressure, signs of ageing, risks of dementia, symptoms of depression and re-hospitalisation after illness.
GPs are under huge time pressure, so discouraging unnecessary visits to the surgery is a benefit both to them and to people who genuinely need an appointment. It is estimated that one in ten of the patients they see are primarily there through loneliness– a new initiative will encourage doctors to refer them to a “friendship service”. Independent Living